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County funds Cedar Falls soccer field

Staff Writer

The Orange County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve a partnership with Chapel Hill that would allocate county soccer funds for the construction of an artificial-turf soccer field at Cedar Falls Park.

Orange County voters approved a Parks and Open Space Bond in 2001 that included funding for the location and construction of new soccer fields in the county. In 2005, the board appropriated $650,000 of the funds for soccer fields at Twin Creeks Park north of Carrboro, but due to high construction costs the allocation was insufficient and the county chose not to pursue the soccer project at the park.

About $620,000 remains in the soccer fund, which will support improvements to a large field at Cedar Falls Park, located off Weaver Dairy Road near East Chapel Hill High School.

Butch Kisiah, director of Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation, said the field is used for a variety of sports, including soccer, lacrosse and rugby.

“It’s loved to death, and that’s our problem,” Kisiah said. “We literally wear it out.”

With the artificial turf, the field’s life will be extended to four times that of a traditional grass field. The field will include enough space for two full-sized soccer pitches and will be available for use during winter months, when grass is often unsuitable for play.

The funding also will enable the installment of field lighting, parking improvements and renovations to the park’s restroom facility.

Board members said they supported the proposed project.

“It does put use to county funds that we probably wouldn’t be able to do much with,” Commissioner Pam Hemminger said. “It’s a very exciting proposal, and I think it’s a great location because it’s accessible to many people.”

In other county business, the board approved revisions to the reduction in force (RIF) section of the county’s personnel ordinance. The RIF section of the ordinance had not been revised since its adoption in 1985, and the revisions update the language to reflect changes in the law and provide a system for implementing a reduction in force, should one become necessary.

“It’s my hope we never have to do a reduction in force, but if we do, we want to do it in a structured format,” county manager Frank Clifton said.

The board voted earlier this month to eliminate 21 vacant positions, and officials have warned that further reductions in staffing may become necessary.

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